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Newspaper Gift Bag

Posted by on Jul 20, 2012 in DIY, Projects, Welcome | Comments Off on Newspaper Gift Bag

A couple weeks ago, I wanted to make my husband a little treat for his day at work.   He works very hard for our son and I, it was a joy to make this little treat for him.

The first time I tried making the bag, it did take me a good 30 minutes to finish it. Immediately after I made the first one, I tried it again and it took 10 minutes.

It is similar to trying a recipe for the first time. It takes longer the first time because you don’t know the ingredients and directions, but the second time around, “It’s second nature.”

I would definitely make this bag again!

Make this for a friend who is leaving on a trip or as a gift bag for a birthday present!

I’d suggest using light weight items in this specific size bag.  I put a Starbucks coffee in the bag and it was too heavy for the handles. Although, I did use thin ribbon.  It might have been stronger had I used thicker ribbon and eyelets. But for light items, it would work well without eyelets.

What you need:

  • 1 sheet of newspaper
  • 3 to 4 light weight snacks (Preferably your friend or spouses favorites.  I did a protein bar, trail mix, a gatorade powder packet and a Starbucks drink. Aim to use items you already have in your house to save money!)
  • Ribbon
  • Eyelets
  • A glue stick
  • Card stock
  • Follow this step-by-step tutorial  (She does a great job explaining it, there is no need to re-invent the wheel.)
  • Write a sweet note to your friend or family member

More then likely you have all these items in your house already, making it cost very little.  I hope you give it a try!  I’m confident your friend or family member will love it!

Would you try making this gift bag? What special treats would you fill your bag with? 

*Find other Frugal Ideas at Life as Mom: Frugal Friday.

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DIY: Flower Arrangement

Posted by on May 4, 2012 in DIY, Easter/Spring | 3 comments

This week I decided to tackle making a flower arrangement.  Usually I just toss flowers in a vase and call it good, but after a full two weeks of spring cleaning I decided to bring spring inside and make a bouquet of flowers I could enjoy for the week.  Well since I’m in no way a pro at making a flower arrangement, I got online to search You Tube for making a flower arrangement.

After watching a few videos, I used this one  as my source of information.  She was made it very easy to follow, anyone could make one! :)  The video is only five minutes long, so if you have some time to watch it she has some great points!

I bought two bouquets of flowers at Trader Joes. One had an assortment of flowers that were bright, but balanced with some white.  The second bunch I bought is the bright green on the right.  They are just amazing!  They added a ton of color to the finished bouquet.

I started with my water pitcher as a vase.

I then cut the flowers so that the leaves touched the base of the vase.  I used four stems and and placed them on all four sides of the pitcher.

Using four steams of white flowers, I placed them in between the green flowers.

To add a punch of color, I added two steams of pink-purple flowers on either side of the vase. I then repeated the process on the inside layer of the arrangement until I used all the flowers.

Here is my spring time flower arrangement. It’s super simple, you should try it!

Have you ever made your own flower arrangement? Do you have any tips for making them? 

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Play Kitchen Supply List

Posted by on Apr 20, 2012 in DIY, Play Kitchen | 3 comments


Way back in the beginning I showed you my list of details for all the needed items for making the play kitchen.  That was before I bought everything.  Today I’m going to share the links to some of the materials we used.  One of the challenges of this project was where to find it all! If you are considering making a play kitchen I hope this post will help you find what you are looking for. This also marks the end of this DIY project, so if you have any questions please feel free to contact me for more info on it.

Lets get started!

Play Kitchen Structure 

  • Entertainment Center – We bought this on Craig’s List for $20.
  • Shelving – We re-purposed mix-matched shelving from Habitat for Humanity Store for $14.
  • Refrigerator Door – We re-purposed a cabinet door from Habitat for Humanity Store: $3.
  • Backing of the play kitchen was purchased from Lowes. We paid $10 dollars for the backing but we only used half of it.


  • Curtains– The fabric was from Joann Fabric.  I bought one yard, I used a 40% off coupon and paid $4.
  • Curtain rod – I bought a wooden dowel from Wal-Mart for a whopping 29 cents!
  • Chalk Board – I re-purposed a cabinet door from Habitat for Humanity Store.  I paid 2 dollars for it.
  • Pots, rolling pin, spatulas, measuring spoons, salt and pepper shakers – I purchased from the dollar store.  Total price for all items $5.
  • Kitchen towel – This is from Kohls, which I got for free from a 10 dollar off any purchase coupon!
  • Refrigerator and oven lights – We bought these ones from amazon for 6 dollars.
  • Phone – This was my first phone when I was growing up. I decided I didn’t need it any more and LOVE the idea that my nieces get to play with it now!


  • Refrigerator Door Handle –  We bought this at Lowes in the hardware department.  It was actually one of our most pricey items.  But I loved the finish and style! This handle was $7.
  •  Oven Door Handle  -This handle was $5.
  • Wood Screws – We bought a multipack from Lowes for $5.
  • Hinges (for the oven door) – We bought coordinating finishes to match the kitchen sink and door hardware from Lowes.  The hindges were 2 dollars.

Paint, Glue and Painting Supplies

  • Gorilla Glue – Bought from Joann’s for 6 dollars.
  • Mod Podge
    – Bought from Joann’s for $10
  • Primer – We used water based primer and bought it at Lowes for $20.
  • Paint – We bought our paint from Lowes; it was $30.  The color we used was Martinique Dawn.
  • Foam Roller 
  • Air Spray Paint Gun – we bought a small one from Ebay for $15.  It worked great for our project (does require an air compressor though).
  • Spray Paint  – I bought white, black and silver at Lowes and Walmart.  Total cost for spray paint was $12.
  • Clear Coat – We bought this at Lowes for $15.
  • Faucet – Bought at Wal-Mart for $10.
  • Sink – We used a bowl purchased for $1 from the dollar store.
  • Door – shelving from Habitat for Humanity Store (included in the shelving price mentioned above).
  • Window – Plexiglass from Lowes.  We ended up using one piece on the front and one on the back.  Each piece cost $2.  We ended up having to buy 4 pieces because it cracks easily when you drill through it.  We warmed up the plexiglass in a bucket of hot water before drilling through it and used a low heat hair dryer while we drilled the holes and the plexiglass didn’t crack!  Our total price was $8 but with this tip I’m sure you could cut that cost in half.
Stove Top
  • Ceiling Fan Plate Covers  – We used these as the stove top burners. I primed them, then painted them charcoal grey. We got these for 75 cents a piece at the Habitat for Humanity Store.
  • Appliance Knob  – We made our own appliance knobs out of these wooden knobs. You can read about how we did that here. 
Utensil Rack and Holder for Curtain Rod
Wood Shop Tools – all of these items we were able to borrow from friends and family.
  • Air compressor- borrowed
  • Table Saw – borrowed
  • Sander-borrowed
  • Jig saw- borrowed
Misc Items
  • Sandpaper We bought 100, 150 and 220 grit aluminum oxide sand paper from Lowes.  Total cost for sand paper was 9 bucks.
  • Picture frame – We bought a plain black picture frame at the dollar store to be the “window” for the play kitchen.
Well I think that is about it!  A lot of supplies, time and effort goes into making a play kitchen. But if you are ready to tackle your first play kitchen, it’s something you can do!  If you haven’t already, read my post on 5 things to consider when making a play kitchen.  It will give you the steps to go for it! When it’s all finished, you’ll be glad you did.
Until our next DIY project, thank you so much for reading and following my journey through my first BIG DIY project.  It was a blast to do and I can’t wait for the next one!
*Note – Some of the links in this post are my referral links. 
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Play Kitchen: 5 Things to Consider When you Tackle Your DIY Project

Posted by on Apr 13, 2012 in DIY, Play Kitchen | Comments Off on Play Kitchen: 5 Things to Consider When you Tackle Your DIY Project

Back in January of this year, I thought it was a great idea to tackle my first big DIY project.  I’ve learned so much in doing this fun project and I think it’s the first of many to come.  Many have already asked what is next.  Although, we do have some ideas, we are taking a break from big DIY projects because we’re moving from one coast to another very shortly.  Today though,  I wanted to share with you 5 things I learned along the way and encourage you to tackle your DIY project as simple as possible!

#1. Set a realistic budget 

When I first saw pictures of DIY play kitchens, I thought surely it doesn’t take that many supplies.  Well after at least 25 total trips to Lowes, Home Depot, Joann’s, Michael’s, Wal-Mart, Habitat for Humanity and the dollar store, I have to say that DIY play kitchens require a lot more than you think.  Believe it or not we even had a lot of things on hand but still found ourselves running to the store pretty frequently.  So, make sure you set a realistic budget by cushioning that budget so you don’t go over!

Shop sales, use coupons and borrow tools from neighbors, friends and family!  Also, ask stores if they offer any discounts: military, police or medical. Some might just give you a discount for asking, especially small family owned businesses. Shop second hand store, garage sales and Craig’s List. It really helps keep you within your target budget! Every dollar saved is one less spent!

#2. Set a realistic time frame to complete your project

I started planning in January and Finished by April 6th.  I thought I would have it done super fast, but realistically life is busy and I’m so glad I planned the months I did.  I was able to finish on time (with tons of help from my husband!) because we allowed plenty of time to complete it!

Really consider what you have time for and how you will incorporate your project into your weekly routine.

#3. Set realistic weekly goals

Every Saturday I planned out what needed to be done that week to stay on my time line.  Sometimes I had to research longer or spend more time browsing at different stores to find the best solution or price.  I tried hard to give myself only 3 tasks each week, that way I didn’t seem stressed or burdened by doing this project.

If you are already use to setting weekly goals, great!  If not, just jot down on a post it note or piece of paper your short list for the week.  Put it in a visible place like the refrigerator.  Resource it throughout the week, even if you don’t get it all done, just checking one or two things off the list makes you one step closer to finishing!

#4. Ask for help and know what you are good at

I took  wood shop when I was in 7th grade.  Which is equivalent to no experience at all! :) And considering I am quite a few years away from being 12, I don’t even remember what I learned! But thankfully I have a husband who did a lot more wood work growing up and really enjoys power tools! Asking for his help during this project was the only way I could have  completed this project!  I felt I was better at planning, decoration, shopping and sewing, than the other qualities that were needed.  So it was the perfect balance to complete this!

We also could not have done this with out our neighbor Brian helping us and loaning us his air compressor (ours broke at the beginning of this project), table saw and his brain for trouble shooting!

#5. Make it fun

I can’t stress this enough, but I’ll be completely honest, sometimes the play kitchen and I didn’t like each other.  I had set my expectations high and then when something didn’t turn out right, I was disappointed.  So I’m learning to just laugh at the mess ups, the flops and failures, you’ll be surprised how much better  “you” and the project turn out!  One way we had fun doing this project is, we took a date night to Lowes and Walmart.  I know, super exciting huh!  But it was a nice little date.  Have you ever taken a toddler shopping at Lowes before? Then you know how nice it is to go shopping without one! :)  Find ways to have fun as you tackle your DIY project.  It’s the best part of life!


Well these are my top 5 things to consider when tackling a DIY project. Next week, I’ll wrap this series up by sharing  the supply list and products I used during this project! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Have you ever done a DIY project?  What are some tips you learned during your project.  Please share in the comments! 


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DIY Play Kitchen: It is Finished!

Posted by on Apr 7, 2012 in DIY, Play Kitchen | 2 comments

It’s been since January that I started planning the play kitchen for my nieces, now it is April and it’s finally complete! I’m so excited to share it with you today.  It was truly fun to make for my sweet nieces.  I hope they have a ton of fun playing with it!!


 Stove top and sink.

Oven door and storage



I hope you have enjoyed this little series through making a play kitchen.  It’s not over just yet.  Next week I’ll share with you 5 points to consider when tackling your first big DIY project!  Until then I hope you have a wonderful weekend and have a very Happy Easter!



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DIY Project – Make Your Own Play Kitchen Knobs

Posted by on Apr 6, 2012 in DIY, Play Kitchen | Comments Off on DIY Project – Make Your Own Play Kitchen Knobs

I know today is Friday and I’m sure you are so excited to see the play kitchen all finished, but I’d love for my nieces to be the first one to see it.  I’ll be posting the pictures tomorrow, Saturday April 7th at 11 am PST.  I’m so glad you all joined me through my first big DIY project: making a play kitchen. If you missed the series start here.

For today though, I’m going to share with you how I made the knobs for the stove top.  I’ve searched and searched for inexpensive appliance knobs for the stove top. I checked the big-box-store and local hardware stores; they were expensive.  To be honest, they cost $7 to $20 dollars for a set of 4 knobs.  I couldn’t see spending that much!  So I came up with another idea and although I wasn’t totally excited about this idea at first; I love how they turned out.

Supply List

  • 4 – 1 to 2 inch round wooden cabinet knobs
  • Color of your choice paint for the knobs (I chose a charcoal color to match the stove top burners)
  • White paint for the details
  • Fine paint brush or tooth pick

Here is how I made them.

I bought 4 2-inch circular wooden knobs from the hardware store. They were $0.79 each. Doesn’t the wood grain it look like the AT&T symbol? Anyways, moving on! :)


I painted them a charcoal grey color and let them dry for 1 hour.

Then, using a pencil, I drew on the details.

Next, I used a tooth pick and painted the details with white paint. You could use a small fine paint brush instead. I didn’t have one, but the toothpick worked great for me and added it character! :)

After, I let the white paint dry (1 hour).  I brushed a thin coat of Mod Podge, to give it that glossy finish!

I just love how they turned out. Here is just a little sneak preview of what the play kitchen looks like. :)

Make sure you stop by tomorrow to see our finished project. Happy Friday everyone!

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